A new Bill proposing heavy fines and other stringent measures on the gaming industry has been tabled in the National Assembly.
The Bill has significantly increased permit fees, fines, and jail terms for individuals flouting the Betting, Lottery and Gaming Act. This is a fresh bid by members of Parliament to contain the widespread gaming machines in towns and estates across the country.
The Bill tabled yesterday by the National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale for the first reading is under the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill on the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act.
The proposed amendments add to the troubles of the gaming industry after the National Treasury raised the tax to a standard 50 per cent in the financial year 2017/2018.
Should it become law, individuals seeking licences and permits to run gaming businesses will have to pay the Betting Board Sh20 million as security instead of the current Sh40,000.
The owners of gaming machines risk losing the amount should their permits be cancelled for not abiding by the rules of the industry.
Those found using or have permitted the use of unauthorised gaming machines will pay a fine of Sh2 million or spent two years behind bars. This is up from Sh5,000 or six months in prison, according to the current Act.
Premise owners will also be slapped with similar fines should they be found to have allowed their buildings to be used for gaming with unauthorised machines.
The new regulations will further demand that not more than two gaming machines be for play in one building “or where different parts of a building are occupied by two or more different persons.”
Taking part in gaming in a public place or in an area to which the public has access will cost you a fine of Sh100,000 or one-year jail term.
And should you make a false declaration while making an application for or renewal of a permit, you will be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh500,000, up from the current Sh5,000.
The Bill is likely to occasion protest in the industry that is now struggling with high taxes amid stringent measures whose net effect will diminish the prospects of the now multi-billion sector. For others, especially parents whose children engage in gaming in the estates, this Bill will help to control the number of gaming machines.